- Article 24 of the CRC calls for the prohibition of all traditional practices that are prejudicial to the health and well-being of children across globe.
- The UN has recognised FGM as torture. Efforts to eliminate FGM have been gathering pace globally, reflected in the UN General Assembly.
- This requires leadership across the relevant agencies – health and social care, education and the police – and the development and implementation of comprehensive and integrated strategies for tackling FGM.
- A recent 2012 report of the Director for Public Prosecution (DPP) Action Plan to address barriers to prosecutions on FGM.
- This means that all professionals must know their roles and responsibilities in eliminating FGM.
- Integrate FGM prevention local strategies for safeguarding children from FGM abuse.
Practice predates Islam and its is practised by Muslims, Christians and followers of traditional African religions. In the UK, reasons for practising FGM may have adapted to their context, for instance, the use of FGM to curb sexuality and to preserve girls’ cultural identity, even as prevention of FGM in the country of origin gains ground. Parents may also come under pressure from family and community members in the UK or abroad to have FGM performed on their girls, and need support to avert this.
Due to the increase in international migration, FGM is also practiced among migrant communities in many countries, including in the UK and in other parts of Europe.
Increased knowledge and awareness of FGM has not always resulted in abandonment of the practice as community-based surveys have shown that people can be aware of the illegality of FGM and its health impacts, but continue to support the practice.
International law also stipulates that freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs might be subject to limitations necessary to protect the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.
Global responses to the elimination of FGM:
- Community mobilisation and education efforts to prevent FGM are piecemeal, under-funded and are often not sustained
- Prevention efforts are not coordinated
- By not acting with due diligence to protect victims
Without comprehensive preventative responses, this is likely to be an on-going problem.
Professionals – such as primary school teachers, doctors, midwives and nurses. For those under 18 years of age, FGM is often not viewed as a safeguarding issue, and is therefore not aligned with professionals’ current duties to identify, report and refer child maltreatment.
- Community-based education initiatives, while important, are not enough to stop FGM
- Women with FGM may not always recognise that subsequent health problems are caused by FGM
- Return to the maternity clinics during subsequent pregnancies, having undergone re-infibulation. British girls who have escaped the practice when they were young, were forced by husbands and family members to undergo FGM at marriage.